We live in a period of time when human beings are more connected than ever before. Without even thinking about it, we form electronic bonds with those around us using apps, social media, and video calls. Through the magic of technology, we know more about one another and the world around us than ever before. It’s thrilling, to be sure, to see the world shrink and our lives enriched by the many ways we find connection. But that just makes old fashioned, unplugged methods of connecting that much more powerful. And that’s a Bulova specialty – reminding us all of a simpler world, where aesthetics, craft, and functionality were prized above all else. Bulova automatic watches do more than tell the time, they provide a link to a way of life that we’re forgetting all too quickly.
Bulova’s history and reputation for quality timepieces is well known and understood. Founded by Joseph Bulova in 1875, the brand has been a staple in American watchmaking for over a century. If you only know Bulova as a maker of fine Art Deco inspired watches from the early 20th century, you’ll be pleased to know they still hold a great deal of influence today, making watches that are both indebted to the past and their own back catalog, while also looking forward. Indeed, Bulova was the number one brand among automatic watches in the $150 – $1,499 price range for the two year period ending in September 2020, according to the NPD Group. This points to Bulova’s continued ability to provide value to customers through stylish mechanical watches at a range of attractive prices.
The A-15 Pilot Watch is a great example of a watch that offers impressive value and a deep connection to a time that new watch enthusiasts weren’t around to see. Based on the Military Issue A-15 Elapsed Time Watch from 1944, this dual crown pilot’s watch features rotating discs that allow the user to time elapsed hours and minutes with great precision. Sure, you can easily do this with any cell phone. But there’s an undeniable charm to actuating the crowns, feeling the discs spin inside the case, and knowing that your movement is keeping the automatic movement running perpetually. It connects you to the event that you’re timing in a way that tapping a button on a smartphone can’t, and the A-15’s design helps pull you into another era entirely. It’s a cliche to say that watches offer a romantic escape to the past, but with the A-15 it’s completely true.
If your taste runs a little more modern, Bulova has you covered. The Maquina collection offers a unique contemporary look with a 2:00 crown and a skeletonized dial. The angular case is modern and sporty, and features broad bevels that create an architectural look. The star of the show on the Maquina, however, is the dial. Notice that the open dial design is skeletonized in the shape of a skull, a bold look for adventurous watch enthusiasts. The movement, of course, is visible from the dial side, allowing the wearer a chance to meditate on the very nature of a mechanical watch. The simple act of checking the time is a reminder of the craft behind the Maquina, and the implementation of the skull theme is a bit of artistic flair that has been part of the Bulova experience since its inception – this is a brand with a sense of aesthetic adventure that can be seen in watches from every era of its history.
The Sutton, part of the Classic collection, offers something of a compromise between the vintage inspired design and forward looking contemporary features, all in a sumptuous and luxurious package that recalls the elegance of the 1920s and 1930s, the period where Bulova really made a name for itself. The Sutton is a sophisticated dress watch with a full exhibition dial, where once again the automatic movement is on display, putting on a show for the wearer whenever he checks the time. The Sutton can be had in a range of styles to suit any taste, including models with power reserve indicators, bracelets, and Roman numerals. It’s the gold toned case that encourages one to pause and reflect on Bulova’s history, a reminder that craft has always been key in the brand’s designs.
To really be transported, and truly disconnect, there’s no better option than a watch from the Joseph Bulova Collection. These automatic watches pay tribute to the brand’s founder and its Swiss watchmaking history by reproducing and reinterpreting designs from the early years, when Bulova was a pioneer in Art Deco styling. Each watch in the Joseph Bulova collection is limited to just 350 pieces, making them true collectibles, and future artifacts that will tell the story of one generation to another. The Banker, a tonneau cased dress watch with a sunray black dial, features an open caseback showing off automatic Swiss movement. The “1875” signature on the dial is a constant reminder of the company’s founding, and ties the past to the present. Short of a vintage Bulova, this is as close as one is likely to get to the sophistication and elegance of nearly 100 years ago. And with this new modern recreation, Bulova offers some conveniences and perks that wouldn’t have been possible back in the day, including sapphire crystals on both sides of the case, a customized rotor, and the limited edition number etched into the caseback.
While it’s certainly true that watches are no longer a necessity for modern living, that, in a way, just makes them more special. Wearing a great watch, powered by an automatic movement, with the heritage of a brand like Bulova, tells the world that you’re conscious of your place in it, and that you refuse to get completely caught up in the race to obliterate the past. Indeed, these watches, each in their own unique way, celebrate the past, and invite all of us to revel in it just a bit longer, and appreciate the simple things that you can’t get from an object that needs to be plugged in or charged.